Environmental Geology

, Volume 26, Issue 2, pp 69–88 | Cite as

Overview of calcite/opal deposits at or near the proposed high-level nuclear waste site, Yucca Mountain, Nevada, USA: Pedogenic, hypogene, or both?

  • C. A. Hill
  • Y. V. Dublyansky
  • R. S. Harmon
  • C. M. Schluter
Original Articles

Abstract

Calcite/opal deposits (COD) at Yucca Mountain were studied with respect to their regional and field geology, petrology and petrography, chemistry and isotopic geochemistry, and fluid inclusions. They were also compared with true pedogenic deposits (TPD), groundwater spring deposits (GSD), and calcite vein deposits (CVD) in the subsurface. Some of the data are equivocal and can support either a hypogene or pedogenic origin for these deposits. However, Sr-, C-, and O-isotope, fluid inclusion, and other data favor a hypogene interpretation. A hypothesis that may account for all currently available data is that the COD precipitated from warm, CO2-rich water that episodically upwelled along faults during the Pleistocene, and which, upon reaching the surface, flowed downslope within existing alluvial, colluvial, eluvial, or soil deposits. Being formed near, or on, the topographic surface, the COD acquired characteristics of pedogenic deposits. This subject relates to the suitability of Yucca Mountain as a high-level nuclear waste site.

Key words

Yucca Mountain Calcite/opal deposits Hypogene Pedogenic 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. A. Hill
    • 1
  • Y. V. Dublyansky
    • 2
  • R. S. Harmon
    • 3
  • C. M. Schluter
    • 4
  1. 1.AlbuquerqueUSA
  2. 2.Institute of Mineralogy and PetrographyAcademy of Science of RussiaSiberian Division, NovosibirskRussia
  3. 3.Terrestrial Sciences ProgramUS Army Research OfficeResearch Triangle ParkUSA
  4. 4.Technology and Resource Assessment CorporationBoulderUSA

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